With the growing number of cases of kidney stones pan-India, experts have recommended modification in diet over surgery to prevent kidney stone formation like the most common calcium oxalate stones and uric acid stones.
Experts have also gone on to demystify role of vegetables and foods containing seeds behind kidney stone formation like calcium oxalate stones and uric acid stones. “There is a growing misconception and a theory lacking scientific evidence that green leafy vegetable and vegetables containing seeds are linked with kidney stones. We can’t say all leafy vegetables containing seeds increase the chances of kidney stones.
In that case, only spinach and tomato seeds are the sources of oxalate which leads to kidney stones. But if the amount of these is quite low, it cannot lead to formation of kidney stone,” Dietician Payal from RG Stone Urology and Laparascopy Hospital, Delhi explained.
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Echoing similar views, Delhi-based senior consulting urologist, Dr Manish Singla elaborated, “Leafy vegetables which are rich in iron and calcium are most commonly eaten vegetables in the world and if it was responsible then the number of people suffering from kidney stones would be alarming.”
Kidney stone are small and hard deposit that form in the kidney. They develop when there is a decrease in urine or an increase in certain substances such as minerals and salt. Modification in diet can help prevent them.
Payal further emphasized, “There is no single diet plan for stone prevention. Most diet recommendations are based on stone types customized for each patient.” She further explained, “Extra calcium supplements should be avoided as per physician recommendation. Moderate amount of protein need to be taken as high protein intake will cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium therefore this may cause more stones to form in the kidney.
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common kidney stones
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common kidney stones. Though calcium is essential for living organisms to survive in addition to its well-known attributes of maintaining health of bones and teeth, increasing calcium intake (milk and milk products) above the recommended amount may increase the chances of stone formation.
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There is also need to avoid high doses of vitamin C supplements. Excess amounts of 1,000mg per day or more may produce more oxalate in the body.”
Payal also stated that high salt intake should be avoided as high sodium intake increases calcium in the urine which increases the chances of developing stones. Low salt diet is also important to control blood pressure. “One other important measure to reduce excess urinary calcium which is worth mentioning is that if excess salt is removed through the kidneys, it draws calcium into the urine. That is why reducing salt intake will reduce urinary calcium and decrease stone formation,” Payal further added.
Talking about another common stone- uric acid stone, Experts have stated that eliminating vegetables having seeds and leafy vegetables from your diet alone will not help. It is a common fact that some foods such as meat can also increase the risk of kidney uric acid stones. For example, if it is caused due to excess uric acid in the body, then low purine diet will be recommended. Foods that are rich in purine content such as animal proteins like fish, red meat, mutton, beef, organ meat like liver and alcoholic beverages need to be reduced.
It has also been recommended to drink plenty of fluid, two to three litre per day (as per physician recommendation), Coconut water and lemonade have also shown to have a beneficial effect with the exception of grapefruit juice and soda. There is a need to limit foods with high oxalate content with daily intake of 40mg to 50mg per day of beer, berries, chocolate, wheat bran, nuts, beets, tea and rhubarb should be reduced from diet. One should eat enough dietary calcium, as per recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 1,000 mg per day.